Christmas at Cabrini!

Seasons Greetings!

We have been having a great time here in Swaziland celebrating Christmas with the lowveld community. On December 12th, members of the Teen Club, along with their caregivers and guardians, came together to enjoy their annual Christmas party. For those who don’t know, Teen Club Swaziland is part of an international family of support groups, spearheaded by Baylor International Pediatric Aids Initiative.  The clubs are made up of young members of the community who are living with HIV. Rising to the challenge of addressing the psychosocial and medical needs of HIV positive adolescents, the club meets once a month to offer support, to learn valuable lessons given by qualified medical professionals, and to nurture a sense of camaraderie amongst their members. It is also a great way to make sure the teens and their guardians are receiving all the help and guidance they need from Cabrini Ministries. To learn more about this exciting international program, visit BPAI’s website!

We also want to send out a big thank you to RUCHI Wholesalers for donating mielie meal, beans, and sugar for the families to take home and enjoy. Thank you, RUCHI!

Enjoy pictures from our fabulous Teen Club Christmas Party!

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What a treat! A few of the guardians perform a drama about the importance of being tested and adherence to medication. We were blown away by their talent!

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An angel appears! One of our talented Teen Club members performs the role of the angel for the nativity play.

 

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The girls perform traditional Swazi dances for an audience of their peers and caregivers.

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Simo Mamba does a great job as the Christmas Party MC!

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Thobile Matsubula, head facilitator of the Teen Club at Cabrini, opens the ceremonies with a word of thanks to the staff, the club members, and the guardians.

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More dancing by our fabulous Teen Club Stars!

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A word of prayer lead by one of the Teen Club guardians.

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Make way for the boys performing traditional Swazi dances!

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And of course, we must give the makes (mothers) and Go Gos (grandmothers) a chance to show off their dancing skills!

 

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Teen Club members and their guardians all together to celebrate Christmas!

Fantastic Feast Day!

On the 13th of November, we here at Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland, celebrate our namesake and the foundress of the ministries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. This year our celebration was made even more joyous by the addition of a much needed bout of rainfall! As the entire staff of Cabrini Ministries Swaziland gathered together to honor the life of Mother Cabrini, we reflected on the life of an amazing woman, without whom our work would not be possible.

Frances Cabrini was a remarkable woman who practiced great determination and perseverance in order to live her life spreading God’s love to those most in need. We are grateful to her and all she did in her life to make the world a better place. Siyabonga, Make Cabrini!

As it does every year, we start our Feast Day with a procession to the church carrying the statue of Mother Cabrini…

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We then attended a beautiful mass lead by Fr. Gaston, who was assisted by a few of our hostel children performing their duties as altar servers.

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Some of our hostel girls approaching the altar with offerings for Mother Cabrini.

After the moving mass, the entire staff gathered at the dining hall for some entertainment, speeches, and, of course, a feast!

Our Deputy Executive Director, Ben Kickert, kicked the program off to a great start, bringing up all the new employees that have joined us this year at Cabrini Ministries of Swaziland.

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“Welcome to the family!”

He then continued the recognition party by presenting staff members who have been with us for 5 and 10 years with a special gift and thank you from Cabrini Ministries.

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And of course it would not be called a Cabrini party if we did not get to hear a few songs sung by our glorious choir!

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To send the entertainment portion of the celebration out with a bang, Grade 5 and Grade 6 performed a fantastic retelling of Saint Frances Cabrini’s inspiring life, appropriately titled Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way. 

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Here we see Bongiswa Nxumalo perform the role of the priest in the baptism scene of the play.

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When Frances was a young girl, she admired her sister, Rosa, very much and was always copying everything she did!

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Here we see Celemphilo Maziya and Ncobile Gumedze with their prop boats and flowers as they perform the scene where Frances explains to her sister that she is imagining that the little boats are filled with missionaries that she is sending off down the river.

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Here we see Mother Cabrini’s first voyage to New York City!

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“Siyabonga, Mother Cabrini” the children sing for the finale of “Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way”

And then…we feasted on a wonderful meal prepared by our very own Cabrini staff.
The Cabrini Staff ate, laughed, and cheered on the rain as it fell down onto our thirsty land.

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Grades 5 and 6.

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Simo Mamba in traditional party attire.

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As always, we are grateful, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, for all that you did for this world. We strive to live on in your spirit of peace and goodwill!

-The Cabrini Staff

 

 

Swazi Observer covers Feast of Mother Cabrini

On Saturday, Cabrini Ministries celebrated the Feast of Mother Cabrini with Mass, drama, singing, dancing, and lots of food.  The Swazi Observer was on hand to cover the events.  You can click the image below to see the article or read the full text of the article below.

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Saint Francis Cabrini honoured

19 November, 2012 11:55:00   Stories by Joseph Zulu

CABRINI Ministries at St. Phillip’s on Saturday celebrated Francis Xavier Cabrini, a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to helping orphans and immigrants in the late 1800s in America.

The day, also known as ‘Cabrini Feast’ started off with a church service at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church and was followed by plays, dance and song by the community. Cabrini, who died in 1917, is considered a Saint and a section of nuns known as Cabrini Sisters have continued her work throughout the world.

The Italian born Saint travelled to America where she worked extensively to help orphans, immigrants as well as miners.
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She ensured that they had basic healthcare as well as basic education and even went inside the mines to ensure the working conditions for miners were safe and healthy.

In Swaziland, the Cabrini sisters under the Catholic Church have continued the work of Francis Cabrini where thousands of residents around St. Phillip’s have been helped.

Residents were also treated to a slide show of the life of Cabrini and how she struggled to reach thousands of orphans and immigrants who at the time were considered low class citizens.

Although her initial dream was to travel to China and serve communities there, the Pope at the time advised her to travel to America. By the time of her death, she had founded 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor as well as train additional nuns to carry on the work.

Highest survival rate for HIV patients on ART

SISTER Barbara Staley says Cabrini Ministries has the highest survival rate amongst HIV patients who are on the antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme.

She said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the survival rate was at least 80% but with Cabrini Ministries, it was 90%. She said the rate was based on how many patients died within a year from commencement of the ART programme. Sister Staley said some of the patients died because they arrived late for ART but that the extensive awareness made by Cabrini in the area had made it possible for people to test for HIV.

Cabrini taking care of over 3 000 HIV patients

CABRINI Ministries is taking care of at least 3 000 HIV and AIDS patients, including both children and adults around the St. Phillip’s area.

Sister Barbara Staley, the Director at Cabrini, revealed this during the ‘Cabrini Feast Day’ for residents around the area. She said some of the patients were orphans due to the pandemic and that Cabrini provides for their needs, including education.
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“We want to provide the same care they would get from their parents,” said Staley, adding that the organisation only stopped helping the orphans once they were grown up and able to support themselves.

In most instances, she said some of the children were also provided with school fees at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Noteworthy is that this is similar to the work done by the founder, Francis Cabrini who also assisted orphans, sent them to school and provided free medication.

At St. Phillip’s, Cabrini Ministries provides free medication to its patients and also operates a mobile clinic.

According to Bongani Khumalo, who heads the programme, Cabrini has several outreach activities for residents.

He said they provided mobile medical facilities at Ncandweni, Nkanini, Mbadlane and Madleni.
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“We provide similar health services offered in bigger towns,” said Khumalo. He also said they had partnered with bigger hospitals such that patients who need further treatment were referred to major health facilities.

He said due to the high level of poverty in the area, patients were also provided with transport and got their medical bills paid. Khumalo revealed that Cabrini was funded through ICAP and that they also work in collaboration with the ministry of health.

In the Spirit of Christmas Giving- A ShelterBox Photo Album

Click on the square below to view a photo album of scenes from when the organization ShelterBox (http://www.shelterbox.org) visited our community in Swaziland. The photos show scenes of distribution of the boxes to needy families in our area, pictures of some of the homesteads that were damaged or impoverished, and various shots of implementing the equipment- like setting up the small stoves that are used for heat and cooking.

ShelterBox Visits Cabrini Ministries' Community in Swaziland

ShelterBox relies on generous donors and volunteers to provide special tent-packages to areas stricken by natural disasters or humanitarian emergencies, and the packages can provide a large family with shelter, tools, and emergency supplies. Read more about the ShelterBox visit by clicking on this link to an earlier blog post:
http://cabrini-ministries-swaziland.blogspot.com/2007/09/box-of-hope.html

You can see in the photos that the people in our community are very grateful for receiving these simple gifts.

As the Christmas season kicks into full gear, we want to remind you to let the spirit of the love and grace of Christ dwell in your heart and let it shine through your actions.

Blessings & love,
Sr. Barbara Staley & Sr. Diane Dalle Molle